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[736] division (Brigadier-General Merritt), they commenced to fall back, when the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) advanced rapidly and made a junction on the Valley pike with Brigadier-General Averell in the vicinity of Stephenson's depot. Both divisions immediately formed to advance on Winchester, Brigadier-General Averell on the right and Brigadier-General Merritt on the left of the Valley pike. We were now about four miles from Winchester; both divisions advanced rapidly, driving the enemy's cavalry pell-mell before them, on and behind their infantry, near Winchester. We came square upon the left flank of the rebel army, now hotly engaged with the Federal forces, their infantry lines were at once charged by brigades, which lines were broken and a great many prisoners and battle flags captured.

This day the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) alone captured seven hundred and seventy-five prisoners, about seventy officers, seven battle-flags, and two pieces of artillery.

The rebel army being driven through Winchester, after dark the pursuit was stopped, and the First and Third divisions (Brigadier-Generals Merritt and Wilson) bivouacked on the Winchester and Strasburg pike, and Brigadier-General Averell's division on the Moorfield pike, about three miles from Winchester.

During the day the Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) fought gallantly, doing wonders, driving a division of rebel infantry from different positions, and clearing the way for our infantry to form.

On this occasion Brigadier-General McIntosh, commanding Second brigade, Third division, suffered the loss of a leg, and Brigadier-General Chapman, commanding First brigade of same division, was slightly wounded.

No one could have acted with more coolness and gallantry than did Brigadier-Generals Merritt, Wilson, Custer, McIntosh, Chapman, and Brevet Brigadier-General Devin and Colonel Lowell. Too much praise cannot be given the cavalry for the active part they played on this memorable occasion.

At daylight on the twentieth the army started in pursuit of the rebel army, Brigadier-General Averell's division of cavalry moving on the back road to Cedar creek, Brigadier-General Merritt's on the valley pike to Cedar creek, and Brigadier-General Wilson's via Stephensburg and Cedarville on the Front Royal pike.

The enemy were overtaken posted in a strong position at Fisher's Hill, above Strasburg, Virginia. The infantry coming up relieved the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) in front of the enemy, and this division was then placed on the right of the infantry, near Strasburg.

Brigadier-General Averell's division was moved across Cedar creek, and placed on the right of Brigadier-General Merritt's division on the back road.

The next day (the twenty-first) Brigadier-General Wilson, commanding Third division, drove Wickham's division of rebel cavalry from Front Royal back toward Luray, six miles. On the same day Brigadier-General Merritt's division, with the exception of Brevet Brigadier-General Devin's brigade, which was left at Cedar creek (in rear of the main army), marched across the north fork of the Shenandoah river, at Buckton's ford, through Front Royal, and encamped about a mile and a half beyond. Brigadier-General Wilson was now about six miles in advance, the enemy having halted in a very strong position on the south side of Gooney Run.

At two A. M. the next day (twenty-second) the First brigade, First division (Brigadier-General Custer), moved across the ford over the South fork of the Shenandoah river, near Front Royal, with orders to move up and recross the Shenandoah at McCoy's ford, two miles in rear of the enemy's position; the enemy fearing, or knowing this move, commenced to evacuate at about ten P. M. the previous night.

At daylight, the twenty-second, the balance of the command moved up the valley. About eleven A. M. that day the advance came upon the enemy posted in a still stronger position on the south bank of Millford creek, their left resting on the Shenandoah, which runs so close under the mountain it was impossible to turn it, and their right rested against a high mountain; the length of their line was very short and the banks of the creek so precipitous it was impossible for the men to get across in order to make a direct attack; in addition to their naturally strong position, they were posted behind loophole breastworks, which extended clear across the valley. Not knowing that the army had made an attack at Fisher's Hill, and thinking that the sacrifice would be too great to attack without that knowledge, I concluded to withdraw to a point opposite McCoy's ferry.

The next day, the twenty-third, Brigadier-General Wilson's division moved across at McCoy's ford and proceeded to Buckton's ford, on the north side of the Shenandoah. Brigadier-General Merritt's division went through Front Royal, crossing the Shenandoah, and stopping at Cedarville; in the mean time having a skirmish with Mosby's guerillas at Front Royal, killing two officers and nine men. About four P. M. that day news was received of the victory at Fisher's Hill, and directions to make up the Luray valley.

The Third division (Brigadier-General Wilson) was ordered to proceed immediately to McCoy's ford on the Shenandoah river, and the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) to move up the Luray valley through Front Royal. Both divisions bivouacked near daylight at Millford creek, the enemy having evacuated that position.

The next morning at daylight (the twenty-fourth) both divisions moved up the valley, the First division (Brigadier-General Merritt) in advance. The advance came upon the enemy in position about three miles from Luray; they

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Wesley Merritt (13)
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